Aerial view of braided wetlands and tundra that is typical of the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska.

Alaska’s Bristol Bay contains “an extraordinary ecosystem that supports an ancient fishing culture and economic powerhouse.” That extraordinary ecosystem is atop the Pebble deposit which “holds copper, gold and molybdenum . . . valued at an estimated $300 billion a few years ago.” And, as you no doubt suspected, there’s an outfit—Pebble Partnership, which owns mineral rights to the Pebble deposit—chomping at the bit to begin extraction in the Pebble deposit that lies beneath the pristine Bristol Bay (here, here and here).

At the moment, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “proposing protections for . . . Bristol Bay that would restrict plans to develop a mine nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon” and imperil “‘one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries’” to say nothing of all the other fauna and flora in the local eco-system. Pebble Partnership’s CEO is having a hissy-fit over the EPA’s proposal, particularly since his corporation is involved in litigation right now concerning the EPA’s “underlying authority” over the Pebble Mine.

But there might be other developments also of concern to Pebble Partnership’s CEO.

In reverse Russian-doll order, the Pebble Limited Partnership is owned by the Northern Dynasty Partnership which is owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals Limited. And there’s more: “The corporate officers and executive board members of Northern Dynasty Minerals Limited are all executive board members and corporate officers of Hunter Dickinson Corporation” of Vancouver, BC.

Major Northern Dynasty Minerals stockholders have recently been divesting from the Pebble mine project. Among them, Rio Tinto, which said in April “it would contribute its 19% holdings in the project equally divided between the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, which had opposed the mine, and the Alaska Community Foundation” which has ties with Northern Dynasty. Rio Tinto’s divestiture follows that of Mitsubishi Corporation and Anglo American, a mining company based in London.

The EPA is now inviting public comment on their Proposal to Protect the Bristol Bay Watershed. The time is ripe to strike, so do take advantage of this opportunity to help protect Mother Earth.

Photo by USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency